A murder has been committed. Blood seeps into the ground, calling out to the Maker of Heaven and Earth for redemption, vindication. A failed attempt in masquerading, a man walks away unhinged and calm, leaving the body for scavengers. In a moment full of rage, jealousy and envy, sweat drips of Cain’s forehead as he saunters away feeling drained, hungry and emotionless. Little does he know, his own life is about to change drastically.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’
‘I do not know,’ he replied, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’
The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’
Cain said to the Lord; my punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’
But the Lord said to him, ‘Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him will kill him. So Cain went from the Lord’s presence and lived in Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.” (Genesis 4:9-17)
I read this Scripture from the bible and a few things pass my through my mind. First, I am astonished as Cain’s brazen attitude and flippant respond to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). Second, Cain seems to have no remorse for his actions, but is only concerned now with wandering from the Lord’s presence and he himself come under attack from others. Finally, Cain had a wife whom had to be banished with him, walk the gauntlet of shame, work tirelessly building for the ground would not flourish under her hand either and stand beside a “marked” man. We know nothing of this woman accept she was there, was “punished” alongside Cain, born his children and helped built the city of Enoch. But there are a few things we can deduce from Scripture and this walk of shame.
I know many women who have experienced shame from their husband’s actions. The actions of a married man, who has committed a crime, convicted, and spending years behind bars of iron bringing shame, embarrassment and rejections to his wife and family. The actions of a married man, who has presumptuously carried on an affair, deceptively believing he will not be brought to justice, now faces the cold hard truth of divorce, separation from family, while the wife experiencing rejection and shame of others knowing and not telling her. She cries as her heart breaks seeking the healing touch of Jesus Christ, for it is only his hand that could gently restore something so fragile and delicate as a woman’s shattered heart.
The actions of a married man whose heart covets, seethes with jealousy and worldly possessions, will stop at nothing, climbing the corporate ladder of success. A woman is now embarrassed by her husband’s shameful calloused actions, experiencing foreclosure, bankruptcy, loss of possessions and a life once full of promise because of erratic spending, uncouth and questionable financial investments, and disgraceful actions against fellow employees for his own destructive gain.
Cursed, rejected, and forced to leave, Cain’s wife, walks beside a man, full of mixed emotion. A gamut of sentiment ranging from rage, overwhelming sadness, embarrassment, shame, anger, vengeance, depressions, sorrow, a broken spirit and loss of hope course through her body. How could she ever forgive him? Where does the healing begin? How does restoration of the family start? Where does she begin her new life of hoping, believing and not loosing her faith in which she stood firmly on helping others during their own marital trials and struggles? How do you get past the hurt? How do you forgive someone who has brought such pain, suffering and grief to your heart?
We all know the bible talks of forgiveness. Many women have preached, taught and encouraged others to forgive, never really experiencing a devastating act where a decision of their own has to be made. I can load this chapter with Scriptures of forgiveness, loving those who hurt you, blessing those who curse you; instead, I want to focus on your choices. Sister, you can read the bible and scriptures until the cows come home, but if you do no have a willing heart to forgive, they mean nothing. If you profess forgiveness, put load the offender with unattainable demands, then you have not truly forgiven. If you announce your forgiveness, but hold the offense over the head of the offender continuously, then you have not truly forgiven.
The decision to forgive begins with a heart willing to submit to God. This submission comes with the acknowledgement God forgives us daily. This submission begins with acknowledging a heart set on humbling once self. This submission brings forth what may be hidden in our own heart and a deeper understand of what faith is. This submission is a choice. This submission is a determined breaking of self and will suffering alongside Christ who experienced rejection, shame and separation from the Father as he hung on a tree of our own sins. What is your choice?
This choice of forgiveness is going to take you down a hard road, the road less traveled. You can experience anger like you have never known. Anger toward your husband, rage towards the people who knew and left you in the dark; anger for the total lack of compassion and concern, the lovelessness and heartlessness of your spouse’s selfish pleasure, caring less for those who are left in the wake of devastation.
This choice of forgives could take you down a vengeful, gravel road where there are plenty of sturdy, hardy rocks to hurl towards the offender. The Lord could have called upon a legion of angels, but humbly suffered for each of us. The submission and humility that comes from the Lord acknowledges the power each of us have to throw the first stone, but great strength arises from Christ to admit the same stone could be hurled to each of us because of our own hidden sin.
This choice of forgiveness will take you down a dark road of shame, rejection, embarrassment and humiliation. Questions in sorrow spring from a broken heart, tearfully unable to speak, by mindfully calling out to God, “Why did you allow this to happen?” “Was I not a good enough wife?” “Why did you stop him?” “How can I get through this?” “Everyone knows and I am so embarrassed.” As sure as I am writing this, having experienced this rejection and embarrassment, only the hand of God can restore your heart, spirit and most importantly your mind. There is no amount of therapy, meditation, mind alerting substances, medications or distractions that will take this pain away, but only the love of Christ.
Finally, this choice of forgiveness will take you down a paved road with several speed bumps that will slow your step, remind you of your painful experience and attempt to keep you in bondage. This is when the choice to repeat scripture as Christ did in the wilderness should erupt forth and quickly. It is written….. has been spoken from my mouth many times. When the enemy attempts to remind you or you hear of another situation of woman a experiencing the same heartache, memories can play over in your mind. This is a dangerous, yet delicate place to be. You’ve made the choice to forgive, you have walked the road finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel and then you’re smacked in the face with a choice to dwell on the past or continue forward. Cross the speed bump, then accelerate back on the road less traveled! Do not dwell where your mind wanders, remembers and attempts to bring back painful memories. Press on toward the goal God has placed in your heart to achieve.
When this is over, the road to recovery is clearly been worth the struggles when God uses this for his Kingdom. Genesis 4:17 reads, “Cain was building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.” Build something great for the Lord from this travesty. Build on the foundation of Christ, the cornerstone, the Rock and the Redeemer. For when the storms come, the foundation will not crumble or be washed away like the grains of sand of deception, but will stand firm on the faith in Jesus Christ. What the enemy has tried to destroy God will use for good! (Genesis 50:20). Let us lay your marriage, your heart, the forgiveness needed and reward at the cross… Let CONFESS the Word of the Living God;
My heart is broken and I need healing. The pain ___________ has caused is embarrassing and so hurtful. I am angry, bitter and have no desire to forgive. I know I am to confess the Word when faced with a temptation as Christ in the wilderness, but right now I can not. I know that I am to love. I know that I am to forgive and hold no record of wrongs, but you will have to show me how. I am ashamed and embarrassed by ____________. Their actions seem to replay in my mind continually.
With all honesty and an open heart, Lord I ask you these questions, “Was I not good enough?” “Did he/she not love me enough?” “Why is this happening to me?” “Am I not praying enough?” “How do I forgive and let go of these memories?” Father, help to sit with you, at your feet with no distractions at this time so the healing can begin. Bring godly women in to my life, a woman who has gone through what I am experiencing to glean through during this process; women who will not judge me for my anger, sit with me while I cry, quietly pray with me as I struggle to forgive and open my heart again and patiently wait as I walk through challenging times.
Confessing the Word has power and life, so as your Word springs forth from a willing spirit let it heal the recesses of my broken heart, doubt, trust and shame. Lord, it is written, “So your word that goes out from my mouth will not return empty, but will accomplish what you desire and to achieve the purpose for which you’ve sent it.”(Isaiah 55:11). It is written, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I understand my battle is spiritual for is it written, “you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Help me to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power for it is written, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take you stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11-12).
If I have put my trust in man, forgive me Lord for it is written, “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.” (John 2:24). I know my healing begins with the healing of my mind and heart for it is written, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2). Help me to keep my eyes on things above for it is written, “..set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2). It is written, “Therefore, prepare your minds for actions, be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:13).
I desire to crave pure spiritual milk, so Father please, show me how to love and forgive as you (1 Peter 2:1-3). It is written, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it s not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Show me how to love as Christ for it is written, “to be clear minded and self-controlled so that we can pray, but above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8).Lord, thank you I can pray and talk with you openly. Thank you I can worship and sing with my spirit if I don’t have the words to pray. Thank you I can sit quietly with you and just be. Thank you Lord for listening, healing and showing me how to live this Christian life through trials and struggles that I do not understand. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen!